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Meditation quiets the mind and calms the body. But doing it takes patience and practice. page 2
Meditation quiets the mind and calms the body. But doing it takes patience and practice.

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Date published: 1/23/2005

By JANET MARSHALL

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"My mom used to give me candy in the morning if I would meditate," Ham said. "Eventually, I got to the point where I wasn't getting candy anymore, but I was still meditating."

Her practice, and her involvement with the Science of Spirituality's Sawan Kirpal Meditation Center in Bowling Green, made her an oddity at Caroline High School, she said.

"I was considered weird," Ham said. "Not by everyone, but it was so amazing to get to college and have people go, 'Wow, meditation is cool.'"

Two years ago, she helped start an informal meditation club on campus. Meetings are open to anyone. The group started out small but has grown, she said, as students realize meditation can relieve stress and get them in a calm mind-set to study.

"Last year, we got a couple of e-mails from dormitories that wanted us to come during exam week and do a stress-related meditation," Ham said.

Ham said she's finished her coursework and will graduate with a bachelor's degree in the spring--with honors. She attributes much of her success to meditating.

"When you come out of meditation, you feel really peaceful and really happy, and that stays with you," Ham said.

Ham's style of meditation involves repeating a mantra and gazing with her eyes closed.

She's happy to discuss the intricacies of her method, called Jyoti. But she said beginners might want to try out some practical advice first. Like writing to-do lists.

"Whenever I sit down to meditate, I almost always think of something I forgot to do," Ham said. "It's so hard to say, 'I'm going to sit here and not think.'" So sometimes it helps me to make a list before I meditate."

Things written down won't be forgotten, and that helps Ham concentrate on meditating.

Ham also suggests trying, throughout the day, to avoid multi-tasking.

"When we sit down to meditate, it's so hard, because we're so used to doing more than one thing at a time," Ham said. "If you focus on doing one thing solely and wholly, that helps."

Beginner meditators, whether on campus or elsewhere, can find plenty of resources in the Fredericksburg area.

Fields leads meditation sessions a couple of Friday nights a month at her Healing Arts Center. In Caroline County, there's the Sawan Kirpal Meditation Center, where Ham went as she grew up.


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